What are the Different Types of Vinyl Rail Fences?

Dan Cavallari

Vinyl rail fences are most often designed to mimic the look of wood rail fences. The construction of vinyl rail fences is therefore fairly similar to that of a wood rail fence, but the method by which the rails are secured to posts is quite different and often more difficult to install than wood versions. The benefits of vinyl, however, may outweigh the difficulty of installation, as vinyl requires little to no maintenance, can be easily cleaned, and will not rot or warp when exposed to the elements on a day to day basis. Vinyl rail fences also won't need to be painted or stained.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

The sections of vinyl rail fences are prefabricated, so the lengths of the rails are predetermined. These are commonly used on porches or decks, or the sections can be built as a post and rail fence around a yard or other open area. While vinyl rail fences in the style of post and rail fencing is largely decorative, the fence is effective at keeping animals either in or out of a specific area. Like wooden varieties of rail fencing, vinyl rail fences come in different styles, shapes, and lengths depending on the builder's needs.

A post and board vinyl fence is similar to a post and rail fence, except boards are used instead of rails to create the horizontal beams of the fence. The boards, like the rails, are made from vinyl that is waterproof and resistant to rot and mold. The sections are easily cleaned with soap and water, or even just with a garden hose. Installing the fencing requires careful measurements, as the vinyl boards or rails cannot be cut to length. They are prefabricated as a determined length, and the distance between posts must be uniform in order ensure the boards or rails fit correctly. The rails can fall out of the posts if the posts are set too far apart, and they may buckle if the posts are too close together.

Porch railing made from vinyl work similarly to the perimeter fencing varieties. Prefabricated panels are fitted into posts set at uniform distances. In some cases, existing wooden posts can be retrofitted with vinyl coverings that will accept the vinyl panels. This makes installation possible even if vinyl rails are not installed. Porch railings made from vinyl can bear a load such that an adult can lean comfortably against the rail without risking breakage.

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